The Beatles

I Feel Fine

Composed by John Lennon / Paul McCartney

Song Review by

"I Feel Fine" was a typically first-class 1964 Beatles single, topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. It was distinguished from its predecessors by a more complex guitar sound, particularly in its introduction, a sustained plucked electric note that after a few seconds swelled in volume and buzzed like an electric razor. This was the very first use of feedback on a rock record. It's been claimed that others (such as the Who, the Yardbirds, and Creation guitarist Eddie Phillips) had developed guitar feedback, or something approximating it, live before the Beatles did "I Feel Fine." It seems inarguable, however, that the Beatles were the first to use it on disc; probably no other group had the clout to get away with that experiment in late 1964. Anyway, the brief feedback was but a preamble to a bubbly Beatles song paced by a brilliantly active and difficult George Harrison guitar riff, inspired perhaps by a similar line in obscure soul singer Bobby Parker's 1961 single "Watch Your Step." Ringo Starr deserves commendation himself for the series of four urgent drum beats that kicks off both the first verse (after Harrison has gone through the principal riff) and the return to the verse after the instrumental break. The singing, as usual, was John and Paul's show primarily, with particularly sumptuous harmonies counterpointing John's lead in the bridge. Rather than coming to a cold stop after the last chorus, an unaccompanied electric guitar continues to noodle as Lennon wordlessly scats, while the Beatles faintly bark (like dogs, yes) in the background -- another imaginative ending from a group that used them often. Lennon, the more prominent songwriter than McCartney on "I Feel Fine," has rightly been noted as having the more doubtful and pessimistic view of the pair in his lyrics, even in the early days. There's no trace of doubt or pessimism, however, in "I Feel Fine," which certainly is one of his most positive and optimistic musical statements.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Meet the Beatles! 1964 Universal Music 2:23
Beatles '65 1964 Capitol 2:20
The Beatles' Million Sellers [EP] 1965 Parlophone
No Image 1966 Parlophone 2:21
No Image 196? EMI Music Distribution
1962-1966 1973 EMI 2:20
No Image 1982 Odeon 2:20
Past Masters, Vol. 1 1988 Capitol 2:19
Past Masters 1988 EMI 2:20
Unsurpassed Masters, Vol. 2 (1964-1965) 1989 Yellow Dog Records
No Image 1991 Yellow Dog Records
No Image 1992 Toshiba EMI
Compact Disc EP Collection 1992 Capitol
CD Singles Collection 1993 EMI Music Distribution 2:24
Live at the BBC 1994 Apple
Complete BBC Sessions 1994 Great Dane Records
The Ultimate Box Set 1995 Capitol 2:19
Anthology 2 1996 Capitol/EMI Records / Apple/Capitol 2:15
No Image 1998 Walrus Records 2:27
EP Boxset 1999 Parlophone 2:22
Forever Gold 1999 Diamond Recordings 2:22
1 2000
Universal 2:19
Beatles Story 2001 CTA
Around the World 2003 Import
The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 2004 Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 2:23
Tribute to the Beatles: The Essential Collection 2006
Various Artists
Cartoons 2008 Brainmade / Intergroove
The Beatles: Stereo Box Set 2009 EMI 2:18
The Beatles USB 2009 Capitol 2:19
1962-1970 2010 EMI / Parlophone 2:20
No Image 2014 Capitol / Universal 2:23
The Beatles in Mono [Vinyl Box Set] 2014 Capitol
Love Me Do [Stargrove] 2015 Stargrove 2:25
1 [Video] 2015 Calderstone / Capitol / Universal
No Image VAP Import
No Image
Unauthorised Live, Vol. 1 Joker
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